tv Reliable Sources CNN August 6, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PDT
at an underground site in nevada. the soviet union has performed 700 since it's first one in 1949. thanks for joining me for the program this week, i will see you next week. hey, i'm brian stelter, welcome to our viewers in the united states and all around the world. this is ""reliable sources"" our look at the story behind the story, of how the media really works and how the news gets made. several developing stories rights now. eric bolling suspended over allegations that he sent several inappropriate pics to several colleagues. plus we have breaking news from vice president mike pence, he is calling a "new york times" story absurd and offensive. we'll have that coming up. but first, how leaks to reporters are revealing white
house lies. remember the emails proving that donald trump jr. was willing to collude with russia? president trump tried to help his son don jr. to explain away the meeting with a russian lawyer. jay sekulow went all over television and denied that the president was involved at all. >> the president wasn't involved in that. i do want to be clear, the president wasn't involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. let's focus on what the president was aware of. nothing. >> those denials held up for a couple of weeks, until "the washington post" reported that in fact it was the president himself who dictated don jr.'s misleadi ining statements. president trump's own inner circle was responsible for the story. now special counsel robert mueller's team has issued grand
jury subpoenas related to that 2016 meeting, then there's the matter of phone calls or actually claims of phone calls that never happened. last week the president talking about a conversation with the president of mexico. >> the president called me and said that less people are coming across their southern border, because they know they can't get across ours. which is a good thing. we heart trump insisting that we got a call from the head of the boy scouts saying that his peach at the jamboree was the greatest speech ever made to them. it turns out to them neither of those phone calls ever happened. the boy scouts not only stood by their president's statement not only apologizing for the political rhetoric of the president's speech, they also said that they were unaware of any phone calls placed to the
white house. and when it comes to mexico, officials were quick to respond in a statement, saying that president enrique pena nieto has not been in recent communication via telephone with president trump. we heard from sarah huckabee sanders saying actually they weren't phone calls at all. >> he specifically said that he received a phone call from the president of mechanicxico. >> so they were actually direct conversations, not phone calls. >> so that's a lie? >> i wouldn't say a lie, the conversations took place, they just simply didn't take place over a phone call, he had them in person. >> this matters because credibility matters. who you can trust matters and it matters because small lies can beget bigger and bigger lies. joining me to discuss this is my panel.
welcome to all of you. i noticed this week, a big increase in the number of times on television reporters were saying words like lie, jeff greenfield, is this a change in tone, a change in fte tenor? >> as opposed to falsehoods, i these it was the "new york times" during the campaign that jumped over that line. it doesn't imply, it says this was intentional. or at best incredibly reckless. and i think it shows a steady increase in how most of the press is now trying to stay so to its readers we know what was said was false and it couldn't be anything other than distribute. >> when i focus on proven
falsehoods, or other media focus on falsehoods, are we just playing into the hands of the president? >> i worry about the "new york times" full page all of its list of characterizing lie. and using the word when we don't know if it was deliberate. i think it's important to get accurate information. but saying something is a lie is really put in an entirely different box. what the trump administration tends to do is move statements, when they're accused of, quote, unquote lying, by saying it actually has some basis in fact, and here it is. and moving into places where you can't confirm the falsity of the claim. the important question is did they happen at all, not how they happened. if they did happen but not by phone, i wouldn't call it a lie.
we don't know if they happened at all because you can't falsify the claim. >> what about jay sekulow saying back in july that president trump had no involvement in that don jr. statement. and then it was act knowledno a the white house that that was untrue. so put yourself as a head of a television network. should sekulow be invited back on these shows? >> i would have a one lie rule. it's not at all clear to me following up on kathleen's point, that that was a lie, it's possible that he asked his client what happened and the president told him an untruth. you know, it is -- i mean that's not great lawyering. >> you say that's troubling as well? >> but it's not a lie. we went with true and false on
the screen, because we wanted to have this kind of internal discussion. but on television, we're hearing the l-word more and more in general. >> i'll tell you what concerns me, is that it is possible that as far as the president himself is concerned, he's never lying, and that's scary. in the sense that he believes that because he has said something or thinks something, it is by definition true. i would much rather have a president who knew he was dissemlindisse disassembling. if a one had said to me, you're the greatest lover in the history of the world, that would be greater than if i was just lying to friends. and on a more serious note, that concerns me about the president. >> you're talking about his emotional state and well-being?
>> he processes reality, i saw thousands of muslims cheering the fall of the hour, i think he thought he may have saw that, and that's scary. >> let's be careful, i don't think donald trump said muslims in that statement. we as humans tend to migrate into our own ways to confirm reality of what we would like it to be. but one thing that's important this last week, is that general kelly is trying to minimize the likelihood that misinformation gets to donald trump. so he's enveloped himself in a like minded world where he doesn't see confirming evidence. and general kelly trying to vet everything that comes to his desk and inside his range of vision, general kelly's doing something really important. >> that's happening on the one hand, according to politico, the
attempt to improve the information the president's getting. he's got amount of time to watch fox news, to watch the pro trump shows on fox news which feed him a narrative. just in the past hour, kaley who was recently a cnn commentator, seems to have joined the trump re-election campaign. she was on television this morning presenting what looks like a newscast. let's watch and then discuss. thank you for joining us as we provide you with news of the week from donald trump tower here in new york. the july jobs report added a better than expected 209,000 jobs. >> looks like a newscast, has the graphical appearance, it sounds like a newscast. but it's a promotional effort
either for the donald trump r re-election campaign. >> in the seem of things, that doesn't strike me as a particularly bothersome problem. >> but the president's relegation to fake news, he would rather make his own newscast. >> that's in the long tradition of political campaign propaganda, i think we have much bigger issues facing us. >> if that were being done by the government, it would be enormously troubling, if it was done by a political campaign, as jeff says it's pretty much politics as usual. >> one other development in the past hour, vice president mike pence reacting to a "new york times" story. you all saw this front page times story that said maybe pence is making some quiet preparations for a 2020 run just in case president trump doesn't run for re-election. what was your reaction to
pence's story before we get into a response? >> please, can we not cover the 2020 campaign when we're in 2017, it's like kids yelling are we there yet when you haven't pulled out of the driveway. maybe this isn't 2020, maybe they're getting ready for 2024. is it conceivable that the disruptive nature of the trump presidency is creating a reality we haven't seen before, where people are hedging their bets, yes. but if we start focusing on this now, everybody's going to be in a rest home before the iowa caucuses begin. >> it's true that the vice president is in a uniquely challenging situation. if the president is in the kind of serious trouble that on some days it looks like he might be, particularly with the special counsel. the vice president, the way i would sum it up is this, the vice president needs to end up at the end of this process, if he's going to become the president of the united states,
in the position that gerald ford was and not in the position that, for instance, spiro agnew might have been, had that gone a different way. you want to be able to say if that's the way the cards fall, that our long national nightmare is over, that you don't want to have been part of the long national night mare. >> pence's statement said today's article in the "new york times" is disgraceful and offensive to me. it makes a lot of sense why pence would come out and deny this story, he wants to show a united front with president trump. your reaction? >> i wish we would be focusing on what is the role of the vice president, what his role in formulating so policy, and what are his positions on the president's positions and is he
doing anything to increase the likely hood that accurate information is getting to the commander in chief as he makes consequential decisions. as for the future, tactually whether he's going to run or not, i would listen to things that people start announcing and not news -- use news time. after the break, a lot of news to get to. stevphen miller potentially in line for a communications job. why one word he used at the white house press briefing this week raised a lot of eyes in the white house. and jeff sessions announcing a new crackdown on leaks, we're going to debate, what should be done if anything about these leaks right after a quick break. r can make anyone slow down and pull up a seat to the table. that's why she takes the time to season her turkey to perfection,
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allergytry new xyzal®.ou have symptoms like these for relief is as effective at hour 24 as hour one. so be wise all take new xyzal®. here's the thing about leaks. sometimes when you try to plug one hole, you end up creating a lot more. stephen colbert had fun with this idea. you can see that skit right here. but it's true in real life as well, as this poor plumber found
out the hard way. why do leaks happen? they happen because something's gone wrong, something's gone rotten or corroded. in washington sometimes they happen for one upmanship, but calling out a reporter is a way to expose wrong doing, to blow the figurative whistle. president trump lashes out when he hears that whistle. he wants it silenced. this is what he said on july 27th. >> i want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level, i told you before i'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. >> and we did see what happened on friday when jeff sessions responded by holding an
anti-leaks press event, announcing a tripling of leak investigating and promising to prosecute leakers and leaving the door open to possible prosecutions of journalists, although the organization is saying it's focused on the leakers. sessions walked out of the event without answering a single question. >> reporter: mr. attorney general do you plan to prosecute journalists? >> hmm. there are many different kinds of leaks, some are just about palace intrigue and infighting, but others are national security related. these are 18 stories based on anonymous stories and leaks just from the past week, there was a torrent of them. including two full transcripts of president trump's early conversations with the leaders of mexico and australia. that leak to "the washington post" was extraordinary and concerned a lot of people. some say it crossed a line others say we need a lot more of those leaks not less.
joining me now is the chairman of the national securities union and political director to put george w. bush. trevor, what was your reaction to jeff sessions' event on friday? >> well, i think jeff sessions press conference was incredibly disturbing on multiple levels, as you mentioned in the opening that they were going to triple the amount of leak investigations from the obama administration, the obama administration actually prosecuted more whistle blowers and leakers than all other administrations combined. so it's incredibly concerning that he's going to increase that amount. but he talked about issuing guidelines for subpoenaing journalists which is incredibly dangerous to the rights of reporters everywhere. >> tell us what that would mean? >> there are strict rules in the justice department that prevent
them from issuing subpoenas to have journalists testify except in very, very rare cases and what jeff sessions is call more reporters to the sand and prosecute them if they refuse to testify. and he also talked about prosecuting journalists. >> they're just keeping the door open to the possibility. does that concern you, matt? >> i think what we heard from rod rosenstein this morning and what we heard from jeff sessions is that they are doing a review on what their authority is and what it is not. i do find it quite ironic that obama can prosecute so many leakers but yet jeff sessions wants to continue this trend and it's a horrible travesty of the first amend. >> we were horribly critical of
obama for doing that. >> there are leaks, there are whistle blowers and there are people that are exposing information that is illegal and sometimes criminal and what general kelly is coming into this west wing and this white house is saying that you put your country first, you put your service to the president next, and understand that there are times when you are leaking information and if it's a crime, we're going to go after that crime. and i applaud him for that. >> that story's about to be on the show. she had a dozen sources quoted in her story, so doesn't that mean that the white house leaked john kelly's warning not to leak? >> for many of us around the country, we think there's too much information coming out of the west wing in a spastic fashion, but it's really not helping them with their agenda. i'm a partisan, i would like to see them proceed with their agenda. and this constant one up manship
is demoralizing their supporters. >> i think journalists no matter who they're covering, appreciate more information. so it's a bipartisan situation. >> i read you and watch you to know what's going on in the west wing. that's really never happened before, usually people who had friends working in the west wing would know the true story. sometimes you know the true story by reading these news accounts. >> that's not necessarily the journalists fault, it's the fault of the people inside the government? >> it's the people in the administration that are putting themselves above the president's agenda. >> we saw something this week, but it's a daily occurrence on sean hannity's program, we just looked at one night, and how hannity talked about the so-called deep state. check this out. >> the deep state, the deep state. i have been warning you never night for months, deep state,
deep state, deep state. this is the greatest challenge of our time and i don't overstate this. >> hannity says he's not overstating it, trevor, i'm curious what you think the impact of that daily repetition from sean hannity is, knowing the president is an avid viewer of hannity's. >> i think there's two separate issues here, one our intelligence agencies should certainly be more transparent and held more accountable. that's certainly true in the trump administration and administrations in the past. but journalists have the right to publish classified information in the public interest and have exercised that right in the past four or five decades. take for example "the washington post" story which caused so much controversy this week, where donald trump basically admitted in this transcript that one of
his signature campaign promises to have mexico pay for the wall was a complete fraud. and people are arguing that this is damaging to national security. but there is -- if you read the transcripts, there's literally nothing in there that's even remotely sensitive. and the broader point here is that trump is claiming that scoop after scoop by the "new york times," "the washington post" is fake news. and these reporters have the right and almost the obligation when information comes their way, to publish it, to refute those lies. and i think that we have seen incredible work by these newspapers. and you have to remember -- >> you remember yet the president tweeted a favorable "washington post" story about isis, it was favorable to him so he shared that so-called fake news story. >> we have a 200-year history where administrations have been able to talk to reporters when our national security is at
stake with information. and there's been democrat presidents and republican presidents who have decided at times not to print things. there are times that journalists have to use their dbest dischr s discreti discretion. when you're talking about our national security, you better get it right. >> speaking of leaks, this is just amazing. one of the reasons why the west wing has been renovated, why they moved people out for a couple weeks, is because of a leak in the ceiling, where the president's staying during the west wing renovations? we'll talk about it right after this.
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hey, welcome back to "reliable sources," i'm brian stelter. one thing missing from trump's prevail indication press conference, he can't hold a press conference before leaving for his vacation. in fact he hasn't held a solo press conference since the middle of february. he has held some joint sessions, but as for solo press conferences, by 200 days in office, previous presidents had held 18 pressers and trump's only had one. sometimes obama even held them in prime time in order to reach millions of viewers. president trump? he prefers rallies with his fans instead. margaret is the senior white house correspondent for bloomberg news. margaret, congrats on your new
role? >> reporter: thank you. good morning, bryan. >> do you have any sense that the president will try to hold a press conference at some point soon? >> i'm hopeful that he will, and it's something that the white house was actually considering in his leadup to his departure. but i can only speculate as to some of the factors that may go into his preference for other formats, but you're right to say that he has done a fair number of these with the four-leaderfor press conferences. you'll remember on that first nine-day trip where he was dancing with swords in saudi arabia and such, there was no a news conference, but they have been moving in that direction since. so that's a good sign, we appreciate that.
i think the white house does think that he has his own way of communicating with folks. but as president obama found and he would often be reluctant to do these hour-long news conferences, the president is not completely on the defense in these things, he can also use it to shape his own message. if they have a pro active message to get out they can tamp down or deal with pent up steam, that's historically been an opportunity to do that. so traditionally, there is actually an up side to the white house that manages it well. >> in a new bloomberg story this morning, your story cited 12 sources inside the administration and around the administration. partly your story says kelly urged the staff not to leak. so did these aides leak to you about the order not to leak?
>> okay, i think there's a leak and then there's a leak, and i hope what attorney general jeff sessions and his team are focused on are leaked of classified information that's of such national security import that presents such an extreme situation that they would actually need to turn it into a law enforcement event. internal discussions about meetings that hundreds of people attended are not really leaks, they're just people talking on background about politics. and i actually think that some of the kind of high points that we were able to report on are messages that both the president and his new chief of staff probably do want out, the idea that he's promoting country first and the president's personal political situation second is probably as important. and there's this question that we've been trying to get to is will general kelly have an
impact on these inside leakers. >> you're on the grounds, will you ever be able to see the president during his vacation? >> we have urged the white house to give us at least a little bit of insight into how he's spending his time and just what the grounds look like, what does his work space look like? we know that general kelly and his staff secretary have been up at the compound and we are seeing officials come and go. we are hoping that we can show ourselves and also the american people what his vacation looks like, he says he's not on vacation because he's actually working. >> what we see on instagram of the president in his golf cart ends up being our main information source? >> right. and that's certainly how it worked at mar-a-lago when we would be at the press hotel or
out on the cause way, we would check with instagram what the president was up to out on the golf course. when he is having his summer and winter kind of events at his properties, if they really are off campus white house s hopefully they will accept our coverage as such. >> margaret, please come back frequently, we're going to talk more about your year ahead as president of the united states. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. no vacations here, sign up for our nightly news all right delivered to your inbox every evening, we write it six days a week for you, and you can sign up at reliablesources.com. up next, a new lawsuit filed this week, the white house
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this weekend fox news scrambling to find a fill in for a story alleging he sent graphic pictures to female colleagues several years ago. by the same law firm, i looked into all the harassment allegations against roger ails. and a fox news contributor rod wheeler was defamed back in may. they said that the trump white house knew about the story and there's even a suggestion that the president wrote a draft in advance. allard darcy is hire to talk about what that all meant. wheeler was a former white house detective.
and he was hired to investigate seth rich's murder. who is seth rich? >> seth rich was a democratic staffer who was shot to death on the street. right when he was shot to death, there were these conspiracy theories saying that he was the one who leaked thousands of documents to wikileaks. >> that wasn't russian hackers, that it was this disgruntled staffer. >> what happened was the story died down and fox news ran a story back in may which claimed to show evidence that they had a federal investigator who had been told that the fbi looked into this and there was evidence that he leaked the documents. >> what we didn't know at the time, was that fox news story was later retracted and discredited. wheeler was quoted in the story, but what we didn't know is this dallas businessman named ed
butowsky, was encouraging wheeler and fox news.com to public the story. why is that significant? >> it's significant because butowsky has some ties to the administration. and sean spicer took a meeting with butowsky and they did end up talking about the seth rich theory at the time. >> sean spicer and this donor and this fox news contributor are talking about a conspiracy theory involving the dnc? >> actually it was interesting was when fox news published the story and sean spicer was asked about it, he said he didn't know anything about this democratic staffer and he needed to get updates on them. but previously he had been briefed on the investigation purposely by the private investigator investigating seth rich's death. >> he told you it was no big deal and there was no follow-up. the lawsuit alleges that there was followup.
let's put up a quote from the story, butowsky -- the suit alleges that butowsky was doing this under the watchful eye of the white house. so what evidence is there actually that the white house had anything to do with this, other than that one sean spicer meeting? >> well, there's a voicemail from butowsky, left from rod wheeler the private investigator, saying that we have the white house's full attention. and apparently after he sent the voicemail, he sent rod wheeler a text message saying that the president had personally reviewed a draft of the fox story. and butowsky told me testifies jo -- told me he was -- >> thursday night or friday night. cnn's chris cuomo interviewed chris wheeler. here's what he said about the evidence involving the white house. >> i have no idea, all i can tell you is what butowsky told me and that's the fact that the white house is all over this and
the president wants this out. >> so that's what wheeler says, what's next in this suit? >> well, we have to wait to see kind of what happens. >> to see if there's discovery, if the lawyers get emails and stuff. >> and they say they may want to interview the president of the united states. but they're going to, according to the lawyers treat this like any other case. >> the reason why this story is disturbing is that it's not the first time that the white house has been accused of using a friendly media outlet to its advantage. let's think about the joe scarborough, i think we can put on this claim that "the national enquirer" was used as a weapon. that the trump white house used a hit piece in the enquirer in the hopes they would be nice to the president. and then the white house has thought about how to use the att/time-warner merger to punish
cnn. so there's other reporting about the trump white house using friendly media outlets and that's why this suit got so much attention this week. >> what is unusual to some extent is that in this case, you have sean hannity and the former president of fox news, bill shine, and others dining with the president on a regular basis is, it seems like and then you have sean hannity giving advice to the president of the united states and you have matt drudge in the white house. so the level of collusion with conservative media to get these messages out and discredit main stream outlets like cnn and the "new york times" is something i don't think we have seen before. >> one other fan of trump, ed bolling has found out that he's suspended. >> some attacks yesterday after this broke and i didn't get a rep reply, and i don't think we
received a reply from his lawyer. >> the lawyer says it's untrue and unfair but they will cooperate with the investigation because they want to get eric back on television. >> right after this broke on friday night, another person had come forward on the record saying she had been subject to interaction with bolling, so it will be interesting if someone else coming forward. >> think about it, roger ails more than a year ago, bill o'reilly and the secret information about his settlements this spring, there was a fox business host, charles payne who has been suspended for a month because of harassment allegations and eric bolling, so this may amount to nothing or it may amount to something big. >> what's also important to note is that fox news has another investigation into that seth rich story we talked about earlier and they have been supposedly probing what happened for two months. >> about why the story was
wrong, why it was retracted? but they have never had a follow-up? >> we have no word that disciplinary action ever happened and we have been told that they will let us know, but so far, nothing has happened. >> read our story on "reliable sources".com. and up next, a closer view on what's being viewed now as stephen miller's tryout for the white house communications department. ise! (cat 2) purr-adise? really? (vo) feed their fantasy. friskies.
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cosmopolitan bias. what does that mean? trump aide steven miller says cnn's jim acosta has it. this white house press briefing was the media heavyweight battle of the week. >> this whole notion that they have to learn english before they get to the united states, are we just going to bring in people from great britain and
australia? >> jim, i am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from great britain and australia would know english. it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind -- no, this is an amazing -- this is an amazing moment. i just want to say -- >> you're trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of feel in this country. >> that is one of the most outrageous, ignorant, insulting and foolish things you've ever said. >> back with me now, political analyst jeff greenfield. jeff, you wrote about miller's use of cosmopolitan earlier this week. why is that disturbing to people who have the historical ramifications of it? >> its history goes back to stalin, hitler, moot lussolini it to suggest disloyalty. in the column that i wrote, one
mistake that i made was i thought i had made it clear that steven miller's use of it is divorced from anti-semitism. i should have made that clear, particularly because jeef stiller is jewish. what is true even in modern day battles, particularly in europe, cosmopolitan is like elitist on steroids. you means you were loyal to something other than our national tradition, our church's tradition or religious tradition, our culture. it's the implication that putin has that you're not willing to love mother russia. the fact that i've never heard it used in american political debate, the gakt that miller along with steve bannon is part of the nationalist wing of the trump movement i think is worth examining. >> many conservative critics set acosta crossed the line by challenging miller the way he did. did you think so? >> i'll give you a definite answer -- i'm not sure. i think the problem is the pressing situation like that is
always at a kind of disadvantage. if you interrupt repeatedly you're seen as o defining your position. >> now there are reports the president is considering miller for the president's job. think that means the president wants to see these battles. he wants people on tv defending him at all costs. >> i think that's for sure. he's always praising people who stick it to the press. you can understand why. another indication, i don't know how to cover the court intrigues of the white house, but if the miller/bannon wing is given more influence and that wing is very strongly nationalistic, not antisemitic, but meaning that our critics are not as -- i think it means you're not as really patriotic. remember sarah palin's line about real americans?
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